Monday, July 28, 2014

Shift Happens

My sister and nephew came to visit us late last week. We cooled off at the Truckee River, picked up fresh produce from the Sparks Farmers Market, ate at the Food Truck Drive-In, toured the National Automobile Museum, pedaled our bikes to the Sparks Legends Outlet, made ooey gooey s'mores over the firepit and watched the Back to the Future Trilogy together!

My nephew loves the water and so my sister and I took him to Cottonwood Park to dip in the Truckee River. He is from Seattle, WA and it was a great way for him to cool off from the warmer temperatures we have here in Northern Nevada.
Boy on the beach at the Truckee River
My nephew on the beach of the Truckee River.
It gave a chance for me to chat with my sister while we watched him frolic in the water with the other kids.
My sister and me.
On another evening we went to the Sparks Farmer's Market to get some fresh fruit. It's a weekly event on Sparks Victorian Square Plaza with vendors selling goods, food, drinks and fresh produce.

My sister brought her bike with her. So when we needed something from the grocery store, we would pedal down the hill to shop. Then back up the hill.
And just when you'd think you were done, there's another incline to finally get home. It is what I have to climb, every day. But you know what? Each effort makes me stronger! When I reach the top of our

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Plan for Family Activity in Sparks, NV

My husband doesn't normally work on Saturdays but today he is covering for one of his guys at the shop. He left early this morning with his road bike loaded on the roof of our car so he could ride Geiger Grade before clocking in.

I decided to ride to south Reno to meet him for pastries and coffee. If I hadn't made that decision, I'd probably have streamed the Tour de France from the laptop to the t.v., brewed some coffee and loafed around the house all day. So I was glad I left home to enjoy the gorgeous morning weather and fresh air!

I should have ridden my road bike (which is collecting dust in the garage) but I really didn't feel like being in all those layers with a sport bra underneath my bibs and a jersey on top--especially with the weather being so humid and warming up later into the day. THEN I would have to wear cycling shoes designed to clip into my bike pedals. There are functional and performance reasons for wearing cycling specific gear but I wasn't going on a training ride today. I would also have the challenge of carrying my stuff such as a bike lock, bungee cords, my paper notebook and iPad Mini in case I decided to stop somewhere to run errands or grab a snack and respond to e-mails at a coffee bar.

In this case, it was much easier to throw on a sleeveless, carefree dress and slip on comfortable sandals that I could walk in! I put all the things I may need for the day in my pannier bags and rolled out the door!
When I got to Sparks Boulevard I saw with my very own eyes what a FABULOUS job the folks at the RTC (Regional Transportation Commission) did with making the roadways pedestrian and bicycle friendly. And YES, the bicycle path at Greg Street and Sparks Boulevard is open and beautifully landscaped!! So for the folks in Reno who want to bike to Sparks for a day of shopping, dining and/or the movies -- they can easily do so and have a scenic and safe route!!

So here is the plan for a day of bicycling, eating and shopping for you!! This is just what I recommend (you do at your own risk and I assume no liability for any injuries as a result for taking my recommendations here. I rode this route today and made it all the way home safely without a hitch.) You will have to forgive all my comments about crossing the crosswalk defensively. I don't mean to preach if you are already a safe bicyclist. I just don't want anyone to get hurt.

Load up your helmet(s) and bike(s) in the car and pack the things you think you may need for your day including:
  • Bike lock(s)
  • Water (iced or no ice)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks (portable ones like Nature's Bakery Fig Bars or fresh fruit that carry well)
  • Bag (I have panniers which are bags that hang off the rear rack of my bike to avoid carrying the weight on my back but you can use a backpack, messenger back, bike trailer or whatever you have to carry your stuff)
  • Lights (front and rear are not necessary but I always have them on my bike and I always turn them on.
  • Cell phone/I.D. (I always have my emergency contact information on me)
  • Towel and/or wet wipes if you tend to sweat, especially if the weather forecast calls for increasingly warmer temperatures throughout the day

1. Drive out and park at the Sparks Legends Outlet (enter at the traffic light signal on E. Lincoln Way from Sparks Boulevard exit). This dirt lot is now paved. I wouldn't park much deeper into the outlet grounds because the roundabouts can be tricky to navigate on a bicycle, especially when traffic starts to pick up.
2. Proceed along the sidewalk (as indicated in the photo above) and head south on Sparks Boulevard. Don't worry, the sidewalk is super wide with enough space for people walking on foot and people riding bicycles

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Faces We Make

Bicycling in the 19th century was dangerous for women even back then. Not from the threat of collision with cars but because it could lead to a threatening medical condition: the faces they would make while riding their bikes. In this article about the 19th century health scare, the doctors claimed that bicycling was a taxing physical activity and 'unsuitable for women'. That it would not only lead to a bicycle face but also a host of other health issues.
Special Collections Department of the University of Nevada, Reno Library
Speaking of bicycle faces, I love reading the blog and admiring the drawings that the author, Bekka, creates with a sense of humor I wish I had. I'm not very funny. I can't tell a joke to save my life, LOL. Anyway, Bekka talks about what a bikeface is. It is far from the condition "characterized by a hard, clenched jaw and bulging eyes" and "the beginning of dark shadows under the eyes, and always with an expression of weariness."

artwork by Bikeyface @
That made me wonder - what is my bicycle face? Usually a big wide grin.

Bicycle face after climbing to the top of a hill near home

I wear the big aviator glasses to hide my bulging eyes and the beginnings of dark shadows under them.

Bicycle face on the Truckee River Trail
Earlier this week I made some new friends while biking to work and my bicycle face was that of JOY!!
Eric & Corrie are from Arizona and new to Reno (Corrie lives here years ago). They are Zumba instructors in town and were also riding their bikes to work that morning.
 And I LOVE their bicycle faces!!
 I shall give these facial expressions a try!!
What would the doctors say if they were to see our bicycle faces now?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer of No Pants

Lately, I have been wearing a lot of dresses and skirts in order to be more comfortable during my commute between work and home. I like to wear skirts and dresses anyway (even during the winter) but now as part of the Summer of No Pants -- I have more reasons to ditch my pants! And Darcie, blog author of Mimi's Mom has a closet-full of tips for riding a bike in a skirt. From skirts that work well (and not so well) to craftsy things you can create so you're ride is more skirt-friendly.
black chevron chiffon dress with cap sleeve
Here in Reno-Sparks, the weather has been quite muggy!! We have 300 days of sunshine per year but I don't remember it being this humid and warm in July.
navy dress with pink cinch belt
The People for Bikes button is a perfect accessory.
In the mornings, the temperature is anywhere between 70 to 78 degrees depending on what time I leave. By the afternoons the digits can reach 95 to 100+ on my way home. I am glad there have been days with some

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weekend Report for July 11th - 13th

Our cat told me she was ready to go for another bike ride as she sat in the crate we made specifically for her. So I took her for a ride on the front rack of my bike. This time she was able to turn around as she pleased and seemed much more comfortable.

cat in custom wood crate
Our cat in the custom wood crate we built for her.
We didn't ride together very far. For one, with no safety cage to enclose her I didn't feel she was ready to venture farther than a few blocks from home. She needs more practice before we can compete with Momentum Magazine's #petsonbikes Instagram Contest. And two, with the sidewalls of rear tire on my bike thrashed I didn't want to risk being too far from home with an untethered cat who, at any moment, can decide she'd rather chase the rabbits and THEN have a flat tire to deal with.
cat on a bike ride
Our cat on a bike ride.
Saturday morning John went some 80+ mile group training ride by Lake Tahoe and Carson City. I, too, decided to get on my road bike. And then three and a half miles down the road he called to say his card was declined after trying to purchase coffee. I thought, surely we have more than $3 in our checking account, LOL!! He was also getting alert text messages from our bank. was a good excuse for me to head home [insert big grin]. Besides, traffic was starting to pick up and the morning temperature was starting to rise. I really didn't feel like being sticky and sweaty in the muggy heat that has been plaguing Reno-Sparks for the past couple of weeks.
Later that day, we went to dinner at the Blind Onion Pizza and Pub at Victorian Square in the heart of

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pro Women Racing in La Course de Le Tour de France on July 27

This year there is a new race in the heart of Paris where the best in the world will compete. Before the arrival of the Tour de France on the Champs Élysées on July 27, 2014. In two weeks, these women will cross the finish line first in the inaugural La Course de Le Tour de France, a pro women’s criterium race. I cannot wait to watch it!!

This video gives me the chills!!

More details here:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bike in a Skirt Without Flashing Everyone

In the summer I love to bike in a skirt or dress. Hell, even in the winter I love to bike in a skirt or dress. Except I wear tights and boots so my bum doesn't freeze. But...yeah...there can be that little tiny concern with a skirt or dress flipping up in the breeze while pedaling along. So these women have a clever little trick for keeping that hem down!! (Thanks Linda for sharing!) No special clothing to purchase. No sewing. I LIKE THAT!!

I will give it a try on the way home since I rode my scooter today AND surprise--I happen to be wearing a dress!! Although my simplest solution of solutions is...

My 2013 Honda Metropolitan is my backup vehicle.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Po Campo Six Corners Handlebar Bag Review

Cuter Commuter holding Po Campo Six Corners Handlebar Bag
Yellow Feathers Coated Poly design
I carry most of the things I need from day-to-day in pannier bags that hang off the rear rack of my bike. Still, I needed a way to keep some things close at hand and if they're in my pannier bags...well, they're out of reach while I'm riding my bike. So I purchased this cute Six Corners Bicycle Handlebar Bag from Po Campo about a month ago. The one pictured in my hand is the Yellow Feathers Coated Poly design.

Po Campo Yellow Feathers Six Corners Handlebar Bag
The buckles detach, go around the handlebar and reattach in the same place.
Made of weather resistant coated polyester to keep the elements out, the fabric is light, tough and has a smooth feel. The dimensions of the bag is 9 in. wide, 4 in. tall and 2 in. deep. Using the lobster claw like

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Crate Fit for a Cat

Over the weekend, John and I built this wooden crate made out of poplar wood to put on the front rack of my bicycle. The crate still needs stain, varnish, hardware and leather straps (to attach the crate to the handlebar and rack) before the project is considered finished.

Poplar Wood Milk Crate
Normally we would buy this stuff because we're not woodworkers. And because of that, I really cannot provide steps with confidence for how to build your own. But if you really want to know, just post a comment below or shoot me an email at I can point you to a great video on YouTube as well.

As you can see, the crate is pretty basic. I didn't buy one because I needed the box to be a specific

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Total Training in June - a New Personal Record!

According to the CDC, adults need at least 2.5 hours or 150 minutes of activity per week. If you break that down, it's 30 minutes a day for 5 days per week. THIS I already knew. And I am getting on average 2.4 hours PER DAY (not per week) just riding my bicycle between home and work, for errands and social activities.

In addition, the CDC recommends two or more days of strength training of the major muscle groups. This I DID NOT know.  Did you?

And did you know that less than 48% of adults are NOT meeting this requirement (Source: CDC Facts)? Heck - I AM NOT MEETING THIS REQUIREMENT. I have the first part down pat by riding my bike for transportation but I must admit, I am slacking in ANY kind of strength training. EEK. This portion is important because as we grow older, we lose muscle tissues and muscles are very metabolically active. Meaning they
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